Study Plan for Beginners
- Learn how the individual pieces work.
By this, we don’t mean just learning how each piece moves on the table. You’ll need to learn each piece’s strengths and weaknesses. It may seem counterintuitive to beginners, but even the king can be used as a powerful attacking piece during the endgame. Pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, queens, and kings – all have their respective strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to spend lots of time analyzing how you can use the pieces to your advantage. Conversely, once you learn how the pieces work, you’ll also be able to work towards neutralizing the strengths of your opponent’s pieces and magnifying their weaknesses.
- Learn how to play the pawns.
As a subset of the first rule, it’s especially important for beginners to learn how to use their pawns. At the start of the game, each player has eight pawns. They can only move forward and capture diagonally. So, beginners often make the mistake of underestimating them. But the fact that you start with eight of them means that you can create strong pawn structures down the line that can significantly improve your position. Also, a pawn can be promoted to any other piece except a king once it reaches the end of the chessboard. So, don’t underestimate your pawns and learn how to use them to your advantage.
- Keep the king safe early on.
Especially early on, you’ll need to keep your king safe. The best way to do this would be to do a castle – and to keep the pawn structure surrounding the “castle” intact. You’d be surprised how easy it is to pin and corner a king if the piece is not protected properly. During the endgame, when there are fewer pieces on the chessboard, the player needs to open up their king more. The king can be used as a powerful piece, moving one square in all directions. It can be used to attack and protect. So, learn how to use the king properly – and make sure to protect him early on.
- Learn the basic chess tactical moves.
Before engaging your mind in learning the intricacies of long-term chess strategy, you will need to learn the core chess tactical moves. These include forks, pins, skews, castles, en-passant, and others. These are all tactical moves that you can use to capture your opponent’s most powerful pieces. In time, you will develop your chess senses, so that you can sense when there’s an opening for a chess tactic, even a few moves down the line.
- Plan carefully.
Beginners may have a hard time grasping the intricate connections between the opening game, the middlegame, and the endgame in chess. And this is quite natural, as it will take time and practice for beginners to learn chess strategy. But shouldn’t stop you from trying. Try to envision how you’d want the game to go. Perhaps you’d like to implement a more defensive play style. Or you’d like to take the offensive. Noting that chess can be quite a chaotic game where positions can change drastically and almost instantaneously, you should still try your best to plan ahead and “see” the endgame unfolding in your mind’s eye, even as you play out your first moves on the chessboard.
So, by now, you know the basics of learning chess. By implementing the rules and guidelines that we’ve mentioned above, you’ll get to see that your knowledge of chess grows exponentially. Keep practicing, and you’ll start winning more and more games against better and better players. Good luck!
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Chessable course: Everyone's First Strategy Kit